Egypt and the Arab Winter

Between The Lines


Arab spring. Well who doesn't love a democratic revolution. Who's not moved by. Brave protests is calling for the downfall of a brutal regime well a decade ago. That's precisely what happened in the streets of cairo and alexandria a wall of sound as egypt's vice president. I'm sulaiman announces that president hosni mubarak will step down the merciful. The compassionate seasons mahamat house entrusting mubarak has decided a month as president of the republic might have seconds after the announcement. Cairo erupted in celebrations. We are extremely happy. We are all aspiring future for egypt. We are not depending on the government anymore. This is the egyptian people. And this is the base of the new constitution now. The worldwide far the greater the egyptian uprising that culminated in the downfall of mubarak. This is ten years ago so february. Twenty eleven all. That was entirely understandable. Wasn't it after all all revolutions at least in the first few days they blissful and remember every tarn across the water arab world trembled. We already had president ali. Fleeing tunisia albany mubarak of course was toppled. Gaddafi was killed by fellow libyans. Assad of course. Vice the syrian sunni rebellion however. The egyptian uprising did not deliver a democratic outcome. Nor did the cycled arab spring really amount to a more liberal future for the region. Why noah feldman is professor of law at harvard law school. He's author of the arab winter. Tragedy noah welcome to. Abc's radio national. Thank you for having me take us back a decade ago so to the wave of popular protests that swept the middle east. There was something profoundly moving for anybody who cares about freedom in watching large numbers of people say enough is enough. We want to have a say in how things are done in our country and we want dignity and we want social justice and we want freedom. And that i think was the reason that all over the world people responded so positively to the arab spring. It's also the reason that the impulse to have these kinds of protests and change spread across the arabic speaking world to so many countries and so there was a sense of optimism but also a sense of gee what will come next and i think in some countries more than others a worry that what might come next might not be as positive as the protesters hoped what comes next. I mean for generations. It was widely believed that arabs. As opposed to site asians europeans africans latin americans. The widespread view was that arabs. Were uniquely allergic to democracy and of course the arab spring challenged narrative yet use site new book quote. It brought little good. The arab spring ultimately made many people's lives worse than they were before house are. That's a painful realization to reach especially for someone like me who believes very fundamentally that there is no country no culture no group of people organized by region or religion or language who have less in the way of aspiration to self government and freedom than any other but ultimately the reason i can conclude that it brought more harm than good. Is that in egypt. The process that began with democratization and experiment ended in a new dictatorship is bad and in many ways worse than the one that came before in syria the process of arab spring ultimate gave way to a vicious improve civil war. The gun to be sure by the syrian regime in its own defense that left almost half the population displaced either internally or externally and killed hundreds of thousands of people and pretty much the place in the arab world where things are measurably better as a result of the arab. Spring is the tiny country of tunisia. Which has actually the odds to build a functioning constitutional democracy. They still a lot of other problems. But that's just a tiny tiny piece of the much bigger picture in which things are either no better or in some cases much worse

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